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‘Armed and extremely dangerous’ man behind bars

by DERRICK PERKINS
Daily Inter Lake | August 23, 2022 12:00 AM

A Kalispell man described by prosecutors as possibly gang-affiliated and deemed “armed and extremely dangerous” by the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office is behind bars after allegedly drawing a handgun on multiple people in separate incidents just days apart in July.

Jose Angel Estrello, 39, remains in the county jail with bail set at $500,000 following his arrest on two assault with a weapon charges in separate cases. His arraignments are both set for Aug. 25 in Flathead County District Court.

In court documents, prosecutors allege Estrello pulled a pistol on a group of people over a parking dispute at Tally Lake Campground on July 16. The campers had pulled over a good distance from the beach, but found a better spot as they trekked toward the water’s edge.

The group split up, with several waiting by the open spot while others retrieved the vehicle. During the wait, a dark colored Chevrolet Equinox pulled up and made for the parking space. Although the campers told the motorist they were saving the parking space, he allegedly pulled into it anyway, forcing them out of the way, court documents said.

One of the campers “exchanged words” with the driver, according to court documents, and the group left, heading toward the beach. But the motorist and his passenger, described only as a woman, followed. They allegedly yelled and cursed at the campers before the man pulled a pistol from his left pocket.

He allegedly said, “This is how we take care of this in Compton” and “I’m not afraid to die.”

Photographs taken by the group of the man’s vehicle and license plate, turned over to investigators with the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office, led authorities to Estrello. He matched the description provided by the victims and is the registered owner of the Equinox, according to court documents.

ON JULY 22, authorities responded to a road rage incident involving a dark colored Equinox between Whitefish and Kalispell. Deputies met with a couple and their small child, who told them they were headed southbound when they noticed a Chevrolet Equinox driving erratically behind them.

When they shifted from the slow lane to the fast lane to avoid a car ahead of them taking a right turn, the Equinox accelerated until the two were driving parallel.

According to court documents, the couple looked over and saw the driver of the Equinox pointing a handgun at them. They slowed and let the Chevrolet drive ahead of them, taking down its license plate and turning it over to authorities.

Prosecutors wrote that the plate came back registered to Estrello, who matched the couple’s description of the other motorist. A deputy with the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office staked out the area around Estrello’s home near McMannamy Draw shortly thereafter and saw him drive by in a dark-colored Equinox, court documents said.

IN COURT documents, prosecutors highlighted Estrello’s criminal history in California for bond purposes.

That history includes prior felony convictions for robbery, grand theft auto and possession of drugs in prison. He has previously faced charges of kidnapping for ransom, burglary and assault by prisoner, according to court documents

Prosecutors also noted that Estrello had a run-in with local law enforcement the day before the alleged encounter at Tally Lake Campground. According to court documents, deputies came across Estrello while responding to a July 15 disturbance call and found him “extremely confrontational.”

Estrello allegedly insinuated he planned to buy an AR-15 to defend himself from authorities. During the exchange, Estrello touted his gang affiliations and boasted about his prison time, court documents said.

As in the alleged Tally Lake Campground confrontation, Estrello told deputies he was unafraid to die, according to court documents.

News Editor Derrick Perkins can be reached at 758-4430 or dperkins@dailyinterlake.com.

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